Histories

» Show All     «Prev «1 ... 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 ... 86» Next»     » Slide Show

Christmas Cheer

Written by Beverly R. Cutler and contributed to Family Search by Michele Moulton Meservy

Christmas Cheer - Combined Stories

by Beverly Romney Cutler
I would like to tell the children about Christmas in the life of my grandma Catharine Cottam Romney and her children.

Thomas Cottam loved children.  He had a shop where he made chairs.  The neighbor children liked to watch him work with the wood.
One day he invited his daughter, Catharine, to help him with a special surprise for the children.
Thomas made twelve wooden dolls.  One was to be for Catharine, and the rest were for neighbor children.  The dolls were very special.  Thomas made joints in their arms and legs, so they could sit down and move their arms.  He asked the lady next door to paint the hair and faces on the dolls.  
When Catharine and her brother delivered the dolls early on Christmas morning in the 1860s, the children and their mothers wept for joy.  

Referring to that Christmas, Catharine's daughter, Lula, said, "Mother always said that was one of the happiest Christmases she ever knew, for she learned the joy of giving.  She tried to teach her children to know that same happiness.  When her children felt sad, she would say, 'Make someone else happy.  Just try it and see; and you'll be as happy as happy can be.'"
When Catharine grew up, she and her husband, Miles Park Romney, tried to make every Christmas very special for their children.  Christmas morning they all went to Aunt Millie's where a big tree was waiting, all covered with gifts and decorations.

The gifts were simple but exciting; mittens and caps their mother had knit, tables or doll beds their father had made. There were homemade donuts and the popcorn balls.  

But soon after Lula's eighth birthday, things changed.  Her father had died, all the other children had measles, and Christmas Eve did not seem the same.  Lula was sad and lonely.  But her mother told her to hang up her stocking.  
On Christmas morning, when Lula woke up, she was still sad.  She didn't even go downstairs to see her Christmas stocking.   Finally, her mother came upstairs, carrying a stocking full of goodies.  Still, Lula wasn't excited or happy.
Her mother said, "This is no way for us to feel on Christmas.  Father would not like us to be so sad.  We must do something for someone who has less than we do. There is a little old couple who have moved here who are very poor.  You must take Vernon's red wagon with some gifts to make them happy.'  
Vernon was Lula’s youngest brother, who had been crippled with polio when he was two years old.  Lula usually pulled him in the red wagon, but this morning Lula would go by herself. 
Lula said she wasn't at all happy to go so far alone on Christmas Day, but her mother insisted and said she would be glad if she did something for someone and forgot herself.

It seemed like a heavy load she had to pull and such a long ways, up the lane, clear across the railroad tracks on the other side of town, but at last Lula saw the little mud hut her mother had told her about. Lula knocked on the door.  A little old woman opened the door. Lula said, 'Merry Christmas,' just as her mother had told her.  The old lady stooped and kissed her as she said, 'Why, you are just like a little Christmas fairy.'

The old lady pulled the wagon inside.  There by the fire sat an old, old man with a long white beard.  He was leaning forward trying to warm his hands.  He  didn't even look up when his wife touched his shoulder and said, 'Look, John, at what the good Lord has sent us.'  Lula thought that was a funny thing for her to say as she knew it was mother who sent it.

The breakfast dishes were still on the table as she unloaded the gifts. In one end was a pillow and blanket off of her mother's bed and in the other end was part of our Christmas dinner, roast turkey, dressing, donuts and a pound of butter. 
Tears rolled down the little old woman's cheeks as she pointed to a few pieces of bread and a tiny bit of butter.  'See child,' she said, 'that is all we would have had for Christmas dinner if you had not brought all this good food.
The old lady kissed Lula again as she said, 'Now hurry home and enjoy your Christmas, and say 'Merry Christmas and God bless you' to your mother.

Lula’s heart almost sang all the way home.  That was the day that she learned as her mother taught her, 'Christmas is the time for giving, not just for getting.'"

Owner/SourceBeverly Romney Cutler
Linked toCatharine Jane Cottam; Thomas Cottam; Lula Romney; Miles Park Romney; Miles Park Romney

» Show All     «Prev «1 ... 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 ... 86» Next»     » Slide Show